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Archive for January, 2011

I really have to laugh at God’s sense of humor sometimes.

I have been very slack about commiting to any fast the last month or two. But I’ve been concerned about someone and the spiritual direction he seems to be taking, and I commited to the LORD to fast today. And I was a little bit of a smart aleck about it – “No matter what tempts me, I’m fasting!”

So I walk into work … and someone has brought in 3 large boxes of muffins. Including my favorite, cranberry.

But I just smiled, and told God he’d have to do better than that to test me.

Wouldn’t you know it? Fran just walked by and said a local business had brought in 8 pizzas for lunch … they are in the back. And MAN do they smell good!

But I’m still smiling … God has an amazing sense of humor that is intimate and personal and He uses it not to tempt me to fail, but to help me see that I’m stronger in Him than I sometimes realize.

And more than that … He hears me, and He’s letting me know.

Go God!

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What a beautiful morning of readings!  Today my friend starts a new job and I am so hopeful for him. After losing his mom, the last few years have been very difficult for him. I remember feeling lost after my dad died and struggling with depression; I’ve seen Greg go through many of the same struggles. In addition for him, work has been scarce.

But today he starts a job that sounds promising and interesting; and today I had some wonderful readings, one of them making me think of him:

61 So Rebecca and her maids, being set upon camels, followed the man: who with speed returned to his master.
62 At the same time Isaac was walking along the way to the well which is called Of the living and the seeing: for he dwelt in the south country.
63 And he was gone forth to meditate in the field, the day being now well spent: and when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw camels coming afar off.
64 Rebecca also, when she saw Isaac, lighted off the camel,
65 And said to the servant: Who is that man who cometh towards us along the field? And he said to her: That man is my master. But she quickly took her cloak, and covered herself.
66 And the servant told Isaac all that he had done.
67 Who brought her into the tent of Sara his mother, and took her to wife: and he loved her so much, that it moderated the sorrow which was occasioned by his mother’s death. (Gen 24)

Verse 67 is my prayer for Greg. Dear Father, please bring Greg into a new season of great blessings. Pour them out on your servant, guide his steps as you guided Abraham’s servant to the doorstep of Rebecca; heal him and bring him joy. amen.

As if that wasn’t enough for one day’s readings, my Psalms reading was this … isn’t it awesome?!!

26 With the holy, thou wilt be holy; and with the innocent man thou wilt be innocent.
27 And with the elect thou wilt be elect: and with the perverse thou wilt be perverted.
28 For thou wilt save the humble people; but wilt bring down the eyes of the proud.
29 For thou lightest my lamp, O Lord: O my God enlighten my darkness.
30 For by thee I shall be delivered from temptation; and through my God I shall go over a wall. (Psalms 17)

Amen amen amen!

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My story

Sometimes people ask me for “my story.”  I’m never quite sure how to reply.  I am a cradle Catholic and I honestly don’t remember a time that I didn’t believe in God and know He existed.

I’ve had various moments, of course, where I’ve leaped to a new level of “knowing” and understanding. I’ve heard Him speak directly to my heart twice, and He has patiently taught me how to know when the Holy Spirit is guiding me, and to trust in it.

But my story?

I grew up on an Iowa farm and my mom took all five children to mass every Sunday and to catechism classes every week. I realize now what a great labor of love that was for her, and a great gift to me. 

In time, God brought three women of faith before me. At the worst times in their lives, they clung to Him. My grandmother and Linette both battled cancer and lost the battle, but showed me how much they trusted God and drew strength from Him; Toni lost her son in an accident and turned to Him for comfort … not away from Him in anger.

I puzzled over all of those for a long time – and I was afraid. I knew that if I faced any of those trials, “I” would falter, “I” would fall apart and never “get myself together again.”

And then one day at mass, Father Boes gave a homily about a “relationship” with God. And I left wondering … I try to follow God as best I understand, I pray to Him, but how do you have a relationship with One whom you can’t see or hear or touch? The answer was whispered to my heart … the same way you have a relationship with anyone. You spend “time” together.

And so I spent time just talking to Him … and listening. And oh, how blessed I have been by our time together!  I have prayed that He protect me from being deceived; that He teach me to hear and know His voice; that He help my unbelief; that He help me love Him more than anyone or anything in the world.

Gradually, over time, I have seen every one of those prayers answered in amazing ways.  I am no longer afraid – the fear has been replaced by peace. I know, now, that “I” never could “hold myself together.”  It’s all God.  He has led me to study the Bible for myself, and to know why I believe what I believe so I will not be easily deceived. And when my dad died, He showed me that He is my strength, He is my comfort and my hope. 

He taught me that truly, we can rejoice in our trials because God uses them for our good. Not only do they teach “me” as I walk with Him through the valleys, but other people may be witness and can be blessed too. My grandma and Linette never knew what an impact they had on me in the worst moments of their lives, but God used them in amazing ways.

Most important, I learned that God is not a peripheral that orbits around me. He is front and center of my universe – the focus and “the point.”

Now, as I rapidly approach my 50th birthday, I am standing with Him at a new point of beginning. I can look back and see what He has taught me; and I look ahead with expectation and hope.

And I know this truth … God is all.

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January 1, 2011.

I have come through 5-7 years of trial and spiritual growth, struggling with depression and taking a hard look at my beliefs and church and self.  It was truly a spiritual battle, a valley He asked me to walk through that was difficult and painful and ultimately, purifying.

2010 was a good year for me, where I finally have felt a renewed strength and confidence in the LORD. I feel like He has directed me into a ministry of prayer and I love the new things He is teaching me and showing me.  I look forward with joyful hope to 2011.  I will be praying diligently for my children especially, but also for all that He brings before me for prayer.  I am blessed with a beautiful earthly family and spiritual family and will not take either for granted.

I hold all up to Him that He will protect us all in body, mind and spirit; that He helps our unbelief; and that He helps every one to love Him and to desire Him and to seek Him above anyone or anything else in the world.

Today I started a new “Read the Bible in a Year” plan that includes all of the Catholic books – found here.  And the very first day (of course) was a blessing.  I think I’m going to like using this Douay-Rheims translation, for the new way I see the passages.

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.

2 But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whosoever he shall do shall prosper.

4 Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.

5 Therefore the wicked shall not rise again in judgment: nor sinners in the council of the just.

6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.

Yet again a confirmation to my mind and heart … universal salvation is not Truth; eternal destruction is.

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